Google+ Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas: Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Russian Stories & Folklore

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Exploring Russian Stories & Folklore

2 of the books I chose to read this month for our exploration of Russia (part of our Around the World in 12 Dishes Challenge) had a definite specific theme to them - greedy, self centered characters. The Lil Divas were quite appalled at some of the behavior (which made my mama heart proud!).

The Magic Gold Fish - A Russian Folktale

I remember hearing this story growing up and it was fun to share it with the girls. I read it to them and we discussed what happened in the story. The Lil Divas felt so bad for the poor fisherman and how his wife treated him. They thought she was very mean and selfish. 

I thought this was the perfect kind of story to re-create so we set to work making stick puppets and props to re-tell the story. 

The Oldest Diva really got into this activity - isn't her mean Old Lady hilarious! I love the face she put on her - it's very cross.

Then we got to work re-telling the story with our stick puppets. I helped along the way if they got stuck remembering what happened next but they did a great job capturing the overall major points of the folktale.

It was a lovely book and a fun activity which also worked on reading comprehension, story retelling,  story sequence, planning & decision making (deciding what characters & props we needed), fine motor skills (drawing, coloring & cutting) and of course working cooperatively. So much fun & learning packed into one activity! 

The Book:
(we borrowed it from our local library)

Babushka's Doll by Patricia Polacco
A story about a demanding (& selfish) little girl and her Babushka's even more demanding and selfish doll. A different twist to the morale that being greedy and selfish won't lead to good things in the end. The Lil Divas couldn't help but laugh at the dolls antics and were quite pleased that Natasha learned a valuable lesson in the end and was hopefully going to be more patient, kinder and unselfish with her grandmother.

For our activity we made paper nesting dolls (or Matryoshkas). It didn't really go 100% with the story but they are such a big part of Russian culture and I really wanted to introduce the girls to them as part of our Russian exploration, so we went for it. I found a few great sites to show photos of real matryoshkas to the girls online -  wikipedia and

Then, we got to work making our own. I cut out simple shaped templates for the girls to design and decorate as desired. 

We ended up with some lovely designs.

Then I used sentence strip paper to form circular backings behind the dolls. Each one was a bit smaller than the previous so they would be able to nestle within each other in the end. 

The girls glued the strips to their dolls and then tested them out.

We now have our very own Russian Paper Matryoshkas (aka Nesting Dolls).

The Book:

Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco
We didn't do an activity to go with this book because we had just recently spent so much time on egg related activities for Easter but a great activity to go with this book would be Melted Crayon Egg Designs. The eggs in the story were lovingly crafted by Babushka and then laid by the goose so it is a wonderful story tie-in activity.  

The Book:

Be sure to explore the other great Russian themed activities on our Around the World in 12 Dishes linky this month and don't forget to check out our dish - Russian Tea Cakes (YUM!)



  1. This Matrjoshka idea is perfect!
    We wanted to make some Matrjoshkas too..but I couldn't think of a way to make them nest. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Very nice post, looks like the girls had so much fun and learned a lot :)

  3. Love it! We did Matryoshkas too!

  4. Adorable! Adding it to my Russian PInterest board!

  5. Your girls have done lovely art work! Loved the dolls....
    And hey, the divas have beautiful hair. They're like dolls themselves!
    Incidentally, we read some Russian stories yesterday including - Matryoshkas!

  6. The pictures are full of children's corn! And I love Russian comedies! It is great!
    tetris game


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